I have done multiple live painting events, where I come with all of my gear and turn an empty canvas into a portrait in front of lots of people. In the process of doing that I have raised tens of thousands of dollars for charities and exposed hundreds to the process of creating art.
I decided to challenge myself at last night's I Love Oil Sands Halloween Ball by not just doing one live painting, but by doing two.
I packed up my easel, paints, canvases and a portrait I had done of Edward Scissorhands earlier in the day and got to the venue just before 7 pm. I was set up and started painting at 7:30 pm.
The first portrait of former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein (24" x 36") was done by 10 pm and was auctioned off and sold for $7,000 to Brad Lucier of HVAC Solutions. He then announced that he would be donating the painting to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association where it will hang in their boardroom.
The second portrait of Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster (24" x 48") was done by midnight and raised $7,500 for the United Way community campaign. Brad of HVAC was the high bidder on that one, too.
While I was completely sober - I rarely drink alcohol nowadays and never when I paint - the evening is rather a blur. But with the pulsing music, crazy costumes, and being positioned right adjacent to the dance floor, it felt like I was floating, spinning, and vibrating most of the night.
These live painting opportunities raise a crap load of money for good causes. Plus, they put me in front of new potential customers - I had dozens of enquiries about commissions last night - and push my skills. Trying to create within a specific window of time and in a frenetic environment like a crazy fun halloween ball, tests everything I have learned after 175+ portraits and forces me to push through all the distractions (and hazards - by the end of the night, myriad abandoned drinks and bottles had found their way on to the little 4' by 8' riser that was my home).
I am grateful for where this amazing adventure is taking me and the people it is connecting me to. Enquiries for commissions are arriving daily and from farther and farther afield. I'm going to keep learning, stretching my skills, trying new things, and following my creative instincts.